Tangible Memories: The NFTY in Israel Travel Journal

By Dan Garwood, North American Coordinator

If you asked me what I’m most excited for this summer, one of my answers would be the incredibly creative ways that participants will use the NFTY in Israel Travel Journal! We’ve mailed a copy of the Travel Journal to every participant, so everyone on the trip this summer has the opportunity to engage in the range of activities, writing prompts, and coloring pages in the journal as a way to create a tangible memory of the trip to bring home.

Two years ago, we embarked on a project to create a companion book that teens could use to engage with the experience in new and different ways. We know that people learn in all kinds of different ways, and where some might get the most out of the discussions we have at each site visit, others might deepen their understanding by doodling, reading an Israeli poem, or filling in a crossword puzzle.

So here are just a few awesome things to look forward in the 2019 edition of the Travel Journal:

Collaborative Spotify Playlist

We’ve created a shared playlist that everyone on NFTY in Israel can and should contribute to! Whether it’s an awesome Israeli hit, a Eurovision winner that can’t get enough play, or the song that everyone’s rocking out to back in the US, all 500 NFTY in Israel teens across all 12 buses will make this playlist together to reflect your shared musical experience. At the end of the summer, we’ll turn off collaboration, so you can always come back to this playlist exactly as it was in the summer of 2019.


Food Wrapper Collage

One of the most fun parts of exploring another country is discovering all the amazing local snacks and candies! We’ve saved a two-page spread for you to save your food wrappers! Make sure you bring some clear tape with you, and remember to rinse off any particularly sticky or smelly wrappers before you tape them down.



Bus Bingo

You’re going to spend a lot of time on the bus, so we decided to help make it more fun! Fill out the bingo board as you encounter these things throughout your journey. Some of them are unique to Israel (“See a Goat”) and some are unique to traveling with your best friends on a bus (“Everyone Breaks Out Into Song”). Maybe you could think of a prize to give the winner on your bus!


The Travel Journal is near and dear to my heart as it’s an idea I and a few colleagues came up with in a brainstorm. My URJ Youth colleagues Jenny Travis and Carrie Miskin really took the idea and ran with it – Jenny coming up with tons of engaging content and Carrie creating the beautiful art and graphic design. But ultimately, this is for our participants, so email us to let us know: What do you love about it? What would you add to it if you could? What doesn’t need to be there?

I hope the travel journal adds another layer to the incredible summer experience, and that all our participants come home with unique booklets chronicling an extraordinary journey.



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